Did Patti LuPone Just Quit Broadway?

Patti LuPone attends Great Performances: "Keeping Company with Sondheim" documentary screening and c...
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Patti LuPone is best known for musicals on stage and drama behind-the-scenes. In a move that may very well signal the end of her Broadway career, LuPone tweeted that she had given up her equity card, which would imply she’s abandoned her membership with the Actors' Equity Association, the theatrical union.

“Quite a week on Broadway, seeing my name being bandied about. Gave up my Equity card; no longer part of that circus. Figure it out,” wrote 73-year-old LuPone, sending musical theatre Twitter into a flurry of trills and collapsed chorus lines.

The “quite a week” she was referring to, according to Playbill, was probably instigated by an incident at the Broadway production of Hadestown, where someone tweeted that actress Lillias White reprimanded them for using a captioning device for hearing loss. White apparently thought the audience member was filming the show.

LuPone has been known for calling out audience members for the use of photography and cell phones, stopping the 2008 revival of Gypsy when a flash went off and actually taking someone’s phone during a performance at Off-Broadway's Shows for Days.

The comparisons began being drawn between LuPone and White as the latter’s social media accounts were flooded by racist and ageist comments, with people criticizing her for addressing what she believed was someone illegally recording. The original tweeter, Samantha Coleman, has asked people to stop their harassment of White and consider instead the ableism in society.

Many have (correctly) pointed out that LuPone is generally praised for the stands she takes on stage, versus the angry reaction to White from theatre-goers.

It’s not clear from LuPone’s statement how she feels about the double-standard, but she is clearly unhappy with being drawn into the conversation.

To perform on Broadway, one must have membership in Equity, and it is necessary at many professional theaters across the country as well. If she really has left the union, that may mean the end of LuPone's professional stage career in the U.S. She could still participate in non-union productions or concerts and cabaret performances. She could also probably come right on back to the union if she wanted to. Maybe when this week is over LuPone will feel differently— after all, it’s only Monday.

Of course, LuPone has other areas of entertainment to fall back on. Her latest television project, American Horror Story: NYC, premiers this week.